With TikTok and Instagram now so popular, the best ring lights have become an essential part of everyday life. Nowadays it isn't just a tool used by photographers and videographers, but also make-up artists, content creators, social media influencers, families who use Facetime and, increasingly, people working remotely.
Once upon a time, the best ring lights were mainly reserved for beauty photoshoots, thanks to the signature, spectacular, circular catchlights in the eyes. While they obviously still have their place on professional shoots, they're much more accessible these days – and the new generation of LED-powered lights are easier and more versatile to use than ever before.
Because ring lights produce constant light, they're a perfect choice for videographers and many ring lights come with a dial so you can adjust color temperature to suit different skin tones. For this reason, they're popular among make-up and beauty bloggers. Most ring lights also come with a mounting point in the center of the ring which makes it easy to attach your phone, action cam or camera for r(ie. the sun). Some rings lights do have flash modes or even High Speed Sync which can boost their power by up to 500%.
Because ring lights produce constant light, they're a perfect choice for videographers and many ring lights come with a dial so you can adjust color temperature to suit different skin tones. For this reason, they're popular among make-up and beauty bloggers. Most ring lights also come with a mounting point in the center of the ring which makes it easy to attach your phone, action cam or camera for recording.
Even if you don't have aspirations of making it big on YouTube, ring lights also come into their own in the new world of increased home working. Indeed, pair them with the best webcams and your home setup will instantly look more professional – vital for making the best impression when on an important video conference!
Lastly, if you want to shoot a different kind of close-up, check out our guide to the best ringflash for macro photography.
Best ring lights in 2022
This 12-inch Razer Ring Light does everything you could possibly want. The one downside to it is that's it's only powered via USB but that isn't the end of the world - especially considering how good the light quality is. They haven't skimped on build quality either, unlike a lot of ring lights, the Razer feels very sturdy and reliable.
There are cheaper and brighter options out there – along with the more expensive, albeit wireless, Lume Cube Ring Light Mini – but we think this strikes the perfect balance of portability, brightness and price. It's a fantastic 12-inch ring light perfect for video conferencing, vlogging or streaming and you won't be disappointed with your purchase.
The Lube Cube Wireless ring light might seem overpriced but it has a lot of really great features compared to other ring lights. The light itself is really bright, you can either run it off mains power or for up to 90 minutes on batteries which are supplied. It also includes an LED readout to monitor your settings and it comes with a sturdy 6.5ft light stand.
It's an 18-inch ring light which makes it perfect for shooting portraits or filming videos. As it's wireless you can use it on location or in the studio which makes it a great option if you want to be able to do both. If you're looking for a ring light to shoot flat lays or unboxing videos, we're not convinced the plastic mounting bracket is the best but if you're using it in a normal upright position, look no further. And if you're looking for a smaller wireless alternative, check out the 12-inch Lume Cube Ring Light Mini.
Many people who are looking for a ring light don't necessarily need loads of fancy bells and whistles. They just want something simple that works, and in that regard, the Neewer 10-inch LED Ring Light is an excellent choice. It's on the smaller side for a ring light, but still a perfectly good size for self-taping, vlogging, TikToks and other quick and easy uses. It plugs in via USB, and comes with a 54-inch tripod, meaning it's very easy to get started the instant you take the Neewer 10-inch LED Ring Light out of its box.
You don't get the sophisticated features of some other ring lights on this list like those from Rotolight, and there are also larger lights available, including from Neewer themselves. But the Neewer 10-inch LED Ring Light is an all-around solid choice that will suit the vast majority of users perfectly, and that's why it nabs our top spot. The bottom line is: if you're looking for a ring light, this will almost certainly fit the bill.
The ESDDI PLV-R432 is a beefy 18-inch ring light that kicks out 48W of power from 432 LEDs. It's big and bright enough to work as a key light for sumptuous portraits with that unique "ring light look", producing soft illumination and circular catchlights. It's also ideal for videos and vlogs, providing useful key or fill to soften shadows and even out lighting when presenting to camera. Its sheer size makes it perfect for beauty and makeup work, too, giving you plenty of room and abundant light.
This kit includes everything you need to get going, with a 6-foot light stand and padded travel case. Prominent dials adjust brightness and temperature, and the light can even rotate 180°, making it useful for shooting flat lays or macro work. Sadly the bundled phone holder isn't terribly sturdy, and you can't mount a camera to the light – so you'll need to set up a separate tripod to use a DSLR or mirrorless body if you're filming yourself.
Note: The ESDDI PLV-R432 18-inch Ring Light is becoming harder to get outside the US, so international users may want to consider some of the other options on our list.
Okay, so technically the Rotolight Neo 2 isn't actually a ring light but it is round and it works really well. Because it isn't donut shapes, the light won't be as soft and the catchlights in the eyes won't be as round but it does have other advantages. For example, it delivers a massive 1,840 lux at a distance of 3 feet which makes it perfect as a key or fill light for both stills and videos. It's powered by either six AA batteries (Rotolight recommends rechargeable ones) or it can be mains powered. There are quite a few accessories you can buy to go with it including barn doors, softboxes and coloured gels if you want to get a bit creative. If you're looking to invest in a light more for portrait shoots, you can also use the Rotolight as a flash either by itself or with other lights using an Elinchrom trigger and it's 500% more powerful in flash mode.
The Rotolight RL48-B Stealth was one of our favorite portable ring lights in years past, but disappeared from the market a while ago. Now it's back in an all-in-one kit, which also includes a Rotolight mini tripod, stand adapter, phone clip and accessory bar – making it the perfect partner for a tabletop smartphone setup. While this kit is geared towards phones, the RL-48 is also an ideal on-camera light for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. The Neo 2 is a bit heavy and unwieldy for the hotshoe, but this smaller model is just the right size (though this kit doesn't include a foot for the shoe), and the hole in the middle is perfect to poke a microphone through!
If bigger is better then Neewer's 20-inch option is the way to go! While it's the largest ring light on offer here, with 44W of dimmable output from 352 LEDs, it doesn't have quite as much power or temperature range as ESDDI's 18-inch 48W model. However, larger light sources are softer – and the Neewer offers the option of battery power in addition to mains, compatible with the versatile NP-F550 / F970 family (two batteries and a charger are included, though you'll lose about 10W of output compared to mains power). Also bundled are a 6'5" light stand, ball head adapter and vertical / horizontal phone holder, wireless remote and carry case. If you're looking for a true ring light with the largest light spread and wire-free shooting, you've found it.
If you're looking for a ring light that can double as a lamp, the Smoovie LED Color Stream is perfect. It features 16 RGB colors and 9 different light modes that include pulsing colors or cycling through the spectrum. There is also has a natural, soft and warm white light settings to choose from for when you need something more simple. There is a 6 or 8-inch version depending on which would better suit your needs and it comes with a collapsible telescopic tripod.
If the Rotolight Ultimate Vlogging Kit is too pricey, then this tabletop equivalent from ESDDI is a pocket-friendly alternative. Just bear in mind, though, that while it's much less expensive, it's also much less powerful, at just 10W output compared to the equivalent 80W of the Rotolight RL48. That said, it's more powerful than the similar 10-inch model from Neewer (which produces 8W of power), and while not dimmable it has three levels of brightness. The ESDDI 10-inch ring light is Ideal for smartphone shooters, with a two-way grip that holds your handset both horizontally and vertically, along with a Bluetooth remote for stills and video. And since it's USB-powered, you can run it from a power bank and use it anywhere.
For those moments where you only need a little light, these very little lights from Xinbaohong are perfect. In fact, they're so small you can pretty much keep them on you at all times in a pocket or a bag. They can be attached to your laptop, tablet or phone so long as it's 18mm or thinner. They're great for taking on nights out so you can capture well-lit selfies, on holiday or even when travelling away from home so that you can Facetime loved ones no matter how much light is around you. Not only are they small but they're really cheap too and we can't see any downsides to owning one.
Ring Lights are fantastic but, unless you're sitting at a desk or table, you might struggle to find a surface or enough space to erect a tripod. The Smoovie Flexi Selfie Ring Light solves this problem by providing you with a flexible clip arm, which means that you can mount your light virtually anywhere – the edge of a shelf, a window sill, a radiator, the interior of your car… it goes where tripods can't! The clip also has a second flexible arm that can hold your camera phone, so this can either be used strictly as an adaptable ring light or as a dedicated smartphone setup. The light can be adjusted to three tones of white to match daylight or artificial conditions, and the brightness can be adjusted too.
More buying guides:
The best LED light panels: portable lighting for photography and video
Best video lights: continuous video lighting for vlogging and filmmaking
The best photography lighting kits: for studio, location and video
The best webcams for home working
The best camera for streaming